Tim Skogstrom runs Cornell Winery and Tasting Room, along with The Old Place restaurant up on Mulholland Highway. While Cornell Winery doesn’t make wine any more, the tasting room serves to showcase many of the wineries that are producing wines in the surrounding area. I highly recommend you pay it a visit.
Recently, I received the following email from Tim, bearing the sad news of the passing of William Hirsh. He and Tim were “comrades at arms and fellow wine lovers”. I asked and received permission from Tim to share it with you, so here it is….
From Tim Skogstrom:
Often times people enter our lives, make little to no impact and then simply disappear never to be thought of again. Recently a man has passed away whom never left this lack of impression on anybody. One of the reasons I am writing this is to honor him and his family but it also serves as therapy for my broken heart. The reason you are receiving this is because you have shown interest in Cornell Winery and the wines of the Santa Monica Mountains and the loss of this person is definitely relevant as some of you would never have found Cornell if it hadn’t been for this man.
I am speaking about William “Wild Bill” Hirsh. Bill was the Director of Operations for Cielo Vineyards at the corner of Kanan and Mulholland Hwy. which his brother Richard and his wife Diane own. Bill was one of the first characters I met when I was in the process of opening my business over 8 years ago and he has left such an indelible mark on me and my family of friends that I find myself moved to, at least, make you aware of his passing.
Bill is recognized by many as being one of the hardest working people in the plight to forward the movement of local wine into your glass. There are few if any who went out into the public domain by attending just about every wine tasting known to man and helping tell the story of the Santa Monica Mountains and what we are capable of. I have long said that the Cielo Cabernet is the best wine made in the area and Bill shared many bottles with me and my crew.
Bill has left a legacy behind him as he supplied many of our local restaurants and retailers with his wine. For many years he was able to increase the exposure of our wines from the Santa Monica Mountains in all the right spots helping pave the road for others to follow. He always had a very fresh and youthful expression in whatever he did. He is the guy responsible for creating wines the likes of his Woodstock labeled, “Honeypie” , “Deep Purple”, “Eight Ball”, “The Witch” and many more, all while sporting his Hendrix headband and his signature laugh and smile.
Bill was way too young to be taken from us like this and should serve a wakeup call for many, he has for me, as I share his propensity for gluttony and ignorance of our health, it’s easy to do in this business as you can imagine. I promise to honor you by making a change myself so that our reunion happens the right way! My heart goes out to all his family and hopes of reaching a spot where it all makes sense is in my prayers.
I will miss you dearly my friend, appreciate all you did for me and thanks for the memories!
William “Wild Bill” Hirsh